Posts Tagged ‘Willingness’
I never thought I’d live to report it, but this morning David Cameron received a unanimous round of applause on the allotments. A few days ago we scratched our ancient heads at his choice of the financial sector as the UK’s red-line for the EU negotiations. We still do, but what we hadn’t anticipated was his willingness to slug it out in the face of what amounted to bullying tactics by the Germans, French and almost every member of the EU. If this was a tabloid it would have Cameron asking ‘Just who do EU think we are?’. But it isn’t and I’ll content myself with admitting that he has surprised us all, not least those who saw him as a PR guru and little else.
Of course, given the attitude of his back-benchers, the Prime Minister had little alternative to doing what he did in demanding some return for his support, but a whole series of his predecessors have rolled over when ordered to do so by the EU big guns. He didn’t flinch and we all have seen pictures of the animosity shown by Sarkozy and others. Few of us will lay awake at the revelation that if we refuse to bend to their will, the French and Germans just won’t love us. One spokesman for the furious EU gang has said that we will face revenge. If my memory serves me well they have tried that before!
Apart from the sudden transformation of the Old Etonian into a David happy to take on the Goliaths, one new truth has dawned. Whilst it is difficult to forecast the future given that the problems of the Euro still look insurmountable, one thing is clear. In an attempt to win German financial support most of the other Euorpean countries are surrendering their sovereignty. The deal leaves Britain in splendid isolation and the time has surely come to ask ourselves just what are the benefits of being members.
Such Lib Demmers as still exist will insist that we gain from influence at the Brussels table. That has now gone and suddenly the ‘for’ column looks empty. Trade? Hardly since we currently buy more from Europe than we sell to it and, in any case, manufacturers on either side of the channel will never turn down orders. Indeed, the talk yesterday of the new EU bloc freezing out trade with China and the USA sounds like commercial suicide that we are well out of.
The ‘ against membership’ column looks a tall one. Our subscriptions exceed our recipts by a large margin, and our industry is handicapped by a mass of laws. Our island is over-populated and there is nothing we can do to prevent EU citizens pouring in. Our laws are repeatedly overridden by the European Court and our agricultural and fishing industries are at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats. Viewed objectively, rather than politically, it is hard to spot the advantages of staying in the EU that will now emerge.
For this gang of old codgers the most puzzling aspect of yesterday was the response of Ed Miliband. Clearly it is politically dangerous to shower your opponents with even faint praise, but his claim that Cameron has got it totally wrong automatically triggers the question as to what he would have done. So far we have heard nothing on that score and we are left wondering if he seriously believes that we could allow ourselves to become even more enmeshed in an authoritarian and undemocratic organisation that will progressively assume control for every sovereign nation’s affairs.
Inevitably today’s right-wing press is demanding a referendum. It is likely that Cameron would not be averse to that since being able to speak for the whole country would help him when he has to respond to the inevitable EU backlash. Little doubt about the nation’s verdict when asked whether we should remain in Europe, but it would spell the end of the coalition and, given the apparent view of the Labour Party, would trigger an election. At this very moment Mr Cameron is probably reflecting on the fact that Churchill took on external threats only to be dumped when the ballot boxes were wheeled out in 1946.
But would the Lib Dems and Labour seriously consider going to the country recommending that we sign up to a ’Merkozy’ regime? Do turkeys vote for Christmas?
IT’S TIME FOR YOUR FAVOURITE WEEKEND QUIZ!; 1. How many times did Joe Frazier fight Muhammad Ali? 2. What was designed and made in a variable form by Sikorsky in 1941? 3. The TV series ‘Spooks’ is about which organisation? 4. Who had hits with “One Night in Heaven” and “Moving on Up”? 5. Which “dog like” peninsula formed Canada’s tenth province in 1948? 6. What was Coco Chanel’s Christian name? 7. Quilp appears in a book about what kind of shop? 8. In which European country are the Pindus Mountains? 9. If a creature is demersal, where does it live? 10. In which county was the first Youth Custody Centre set up in 1908?
??????????? ANSWERS TOMORROW ??????????????
When I penned my recent piece on the death of democracy I underestimated the willingness of at least some MPs to stand up for it. In last night’s debate in the Commons on the need for a referendum on Europe, an impressive number of Conservative MPs made it clear that having been party to a promise to consult the people, they had no moral alternative than to vote for a national vote. Despite a three-line whip imposed by the prime minister, 82 voted for a referendum and a further 15 abstained. In all about half of all Conservative members, outside the “payroll vote” of ministers and their aides, defied Davd Cameron and the barrage of threats to which they had been subjected. Of course the motion was lost since Cameron can rely on his lapdog Lib Dem partners, and his dormant Labour opponents, to support him.
The point here is that the vote was not about leaving Europe, loosening our ties, or staying in. It was simply about the right of the people to express a view on an issue that impinges on every family in the land. If truth be told when, in the run-up to the election, Cameron pledged to force a referendum at the “earliest moment” he was of course indulging in the type of politics that has brought the art so low in the public view. The reality undoubtedly is that whilst he does have reservations about Brussels, he has even greater reservations about the concept of listening to public opinion. For different reasons Miliband feels much the same way.
One of the most dramatic moments of the debate came with the resignation of Philip Hollobone, an aide to David Lidington, the Europe Minister. He pointed out that the debate was the result of a public petition and said that supporting the referendum motion could help to “restore public confidence in politicians and Parliament”. He went on to say: “Heres our opportunity to show people that actually the system can work; that representative government does actually continue to function in the land where it was nurtured and developed; that patriotism, putting your country rather than your own interests first, is not foreign to this House”. He was followed by Stewart Jackson, another PPS, who also resigned, accusing Mr Cameron of “catastrophic mismanagement in terms of my party”. He in turn was followed by a large number of other Conservative MPs most of whom emphasised the importance of keeping promises conveyd by them to their constituents.
None of them were heard by the prime minister who left the House after giving his own version of things. He didnt have a good day. His analogy of helping a neighbour to put out a fire was ridiculous. Yes, one would do that but that doesnt imply that one would also allow the neighbour to impose countless rules on ones own household. But, as is often the case anything daft said by the king of spin was more than matched by Ed Miliband. He said that when the French President told the prime minister to shut up he was speaking for Britain. Mr Miliband clearly hasn’t spoken to many of what he terms ‘ordinary people’.
A new poll out today reveals that almost 75 per cent believe that the British people should have the opportunity to express a view on the EU. Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have shown total contempt for that view, clearly they hold a very low view of the people and of the democratic process.
I suspect that their view of us all is reciprocated. I thought I would never say this, but I admire the 97 Conservatives who at least demonstrated that not all MPs are simply ‘voting fodder’ and there is some point in electing representatives.
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR THE MIDWEEK QUIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“I’ll bet Abramovich has never done this” muttered Albert as we dug in the hen litter, a task that vies with setting mousetraps as my most dreaded, this morning. I’m sure he’s right, but then again neither would I if I had enough cash to pay fifty million for a lack-lustre footballer without even missing it. Clearly the Russian mantra of all men being equal wasn’t quite as inclusive as we used to believe in those heady days of the Daily Worker. It may be irrational but the news of the soccer largesse has made us even more cynical about our impending ’Big Society’.
A few days ago I mused on the plan for the Big S to take over libraries and run them with volunteers. I doubted the availability of literate volunteers with no need of income and a willingness to spend months learning the knack, before settling into several days per week full time employment without so much as a thought of financial reward. Several local fans of the Cameron big wheeze contacted me to point out that there is now a dynamic young Big Society Zsar who is more than happy to devote his life to leading us toward the promised land, in which we are not only all equal but ask nothing other than to serve others and, in some cases, library books.
I must confess to being taken aback by this news for the appointment of the Zsar had escaped me. I learned that Mr Cameron, the greatest Zsar of them all, had promoted to be a Lord a 34 year old former management consultant to be known henceforth as Lord Wei of Shoreditch. That didn’t sound the best of starts for the new age of all being equal, but at least the man was happy to work for nothing for three days per week on teaching us all the joys of voluntary near-full-time work.
Up until today I hadn’t read anything in the press about the new star Zsar so it was something of a surprise to read this morning that he has had to announce a reduction of 33 per cent in his hours. It seems that, unlike his benefactor, he is not a millionaire and has realised that he must allocate more time to “earn money” and to ”have more of a life”. We are told that, sadly, Lord Wei does not have “a private income”. Which seems to suggest that the army of near full-time voluteers will need to have one. Now that narrows the size of the new army somewhat doesn’t it!
All of which prompted me to look up Lord Wei’s terms of reference. He was to focus on “freeing people from the daily grind to give them more time to do voluntary work and involve themselves in running their communities”. Perhaps that explains the ever increasing number of redundancies amongst skilled public sector workers? However I did learn something else. Whitehall sources say that when he was invited to take up the post the new Lord imagined it to be salaried. Now he has concluded that working for free for most of each week is incompatible with ‘having a life’.
But the Big S top stars – which really means Cameron plus those who dare not cross him – point to the fact that they now have another new star Zsar. Lord Tarzan Haseltine is an unpaid advisor. So now we have the real specification for the new age volunteers. They need to be long-retired, and in possession of rather a lot of the readies!
Give us a break Mr Cameron. Many of us are tiring of all this hogwash at a rate faster than Torres is ever likely to run for his new Russian master!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; “All the world’s a stage, and most of us are desperately unrehearsed”…..Sean O’Casey “The world is like a safe to which there is a combination – but the combination is locked up in the safe”….Peter de Vries “The quietest place in the world is the complaints department at the parachute packing department”…..Jackie Martling “We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artifical flavours and furniture polish is made from real lemons”…..Alfred Newman “Life is full of misery, loneliness, unhappiness and suffering, and it’s over much too soon”….Woody Allen “Life is good and bad. Mostly and”….Diogenes “If life was fair Elvis would be alive today and all the impersonators dead”….Johnny Carson “Life is generally something that happens elsewhere”…Alan Bennett “Life is like a dog-sled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes”….Lewis Grizzard “On the keyboard of life always keep a finger on the escape key”…..Scott Adams “He was an interesting character, Hadrian. He had a wife and a husband. And he built this enormous wall. I’d never thought of him before as a gay bricklayer”….Billy Connolly “I think Hitler had a fatal flaw. If I invented my own superior race I’d want them to look like me, or worse”….Buzz Nutley. “Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?……Tony Hancock
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Australia 2. Toc H
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which country was ruled over by Papa Doc Duvalier? 2. Bebe Daniels died in 1971; what was the name of her husband and showbiz partner?